By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Mark your calendar: Eric Church
Country's Eric Church plays the Mercer Theatre Feb. 2

Country singer Eric Church, whose third album, Chief, recently entered Billboard’s Country and Top 200 charts at No. 1, is coming to the Savannah Civic Center Thursday, Feb. 2.

Joining the North Carolina vocalist for his “Blood, Sweat and Beers” show will be Brantley Gilbert (“Country Must Be Country Wide”) and none other than Zac Brown protege Sonia Leigh, who was profiled not so long ago in these very pages.

Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 2 through

Church has never had a chart–topping single, making him something of an anomaly in the country music business.

According to his label chief, Mike Dungan of Capitol/EMI Nashville, Church’s near–constant touring made it all happen.

 “In the very beginning, we put him in an opening slot on a superstar tour,” said Dungan, “and it ended up just not feeling right. We knew pretty quickly that it would be better to start outside and work our way in than the other way around. He started playing smaller venues, playing later at night to mostly male audiences, and the word of mouth took him from playing for 100 people a night to thousands, so he’s worked his way up to where he is now out on the road – and it keeps building.”

Church’s hits include “Drink in My Hand,” “Hell on the Heart,” “Love Your Love the Most” and “Homeboy.” His highest position on the singles chart was No. 10.

“I’m seen as the bad boy, a lone wolf,” Church told Billboard. “I do my own thing and that’s OK. I’m not doing it to make friends. I just want to make great music and honestly kick everybody else’s ass in the industry. That’s my goal.”

Gone clubbing

As we head into the year-ending holiday home stretch, here’s a look ahead at December dates in a couple of the most band-friendly Savannah clubs:

At the Jinx, the always-delightful Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun returns Dec. 7; the club’s got Razormaze on the 9th, the Straight 8’s, Sky Paige and Crazy Man Crazy on the 17th, and on the 30th, the long-awaited return of Savannah’s globe-trotting metal heroes Kylesa.

Pete Stein of Truckstop Coffee has a gig at Live Wire Music Hall Dec. 8. Live Wire’s got Dr. Dan Matrazzo (with the Looters) on the 9th, and on the 10th, it’s the funkiest bass player around: New Orleans’ George Porter Jr. (from the Meters) and his band, the Runnin’ Pardners.

Another well-received band from last spring’s inaugural Savannah Stopover Festival, the Nashville-based Winter Sounds, plays the Wormhole Dec. 15.

December stageworks

Here’s how the city theater scene is going to close out 2011: First up is the long-awaited debut of Hands of the Spirit, the gospel musical directed by Tom Coleman under the auspices of his Savannah Community Theatre. It’s a massive project, and it’s on the stage of the Trustees Theater Dec. 10 and 11.

Gary Swindell and Darowe McMillon co-direct the annual production of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity, Dec. 15-17 at Muse Arts Warehouse. It’s a collaboration between The Eastside Players, Spitfire Poetry Group, and Abeni Cultural Arts Performing Dance Studio.